Former Italy international Dino Baggio has asked for an investigation to be carried out on substances administered to players of his generation after the recent deaths of Gianluca Vialli and Sinisa Mihajlovic.
In an interview with the Gazzetta Della Sport published on Wednesday former Juventus, Parma and Lazio midfielder Baggio, 51, said he was worried about the effects of legal supplements given to footballers during the 1990s.
He also cleared up widespread reports that he had said in a television interview on Tuesday players were doped during the 1990s, saying he had expressed himself badly when talking about what he describes as rigorous anti-doping controls.
“Team doctors couldn’t dope us, we were checked every three or four days,” Baggio said.
“No, I simply want to know from scientists if the supplements we took could cause problems in our bodies over the long term.”
Baggio, who made his comments after former Italy striker Vialli and Serbian great Sinisa Mihajlovic passed away in the last few weeks, said the substances he spoke about are “sold at chemists today” and simply helped players recover from physical efforts.
Vialli lost a long battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 58 earlier this month while Mihajlovic died of leukemia in December at 53.
“My reasoning comes from the pain that I’m suffering for the death of Vialli, who I always considered a friend and who helped me a lot, of Mihajlovic and lots of others who played like me in the 1990s,” said Baggio.
“There are too many who have left us, and I think we need to investigate the pharmaceutical products taken in that period. Maybe there’s nothing to it, maybe we’ll find something out.”
Italy coach Roberto Mancini, who played for years alongside Vialli at Sampdoria and was a very close friend, urged caution regarding Baggio’s demand.
“We need to be very cautious on this subject. Unfortunately these things (illnesses) happen to all sorts of people, both those who play football and those who don’t,” Mancini at Wednesday’s presentation of the national team’s new kit.
However former Romania striker Florin Raducioiu told Orange Sport in his home country that he would like to “have a discussion” with his former club doctor at Brescia where he played in the 1990s.
“I don’t know (what substances he was given),” he said.
“They told me it was glucose. It was a pink liquid prepared the day before the match, in the evening at the hotel.” — Agence France-Presse